Author: ccc

Най-добрите железопътни гари в Европа

Най-добрите железопътни гари в Европа

Международната неправителствена организация Consumer Choice Center състави класация на най-добрите железопътни гари в Европа.

Те са оценени по няколко критерия – лесна достъпност (наличие на ескалатори и др.), струпване на хора по платформите, чистота, наличие на магазини, ресторанти, зони за почивка, разбираеми указателни табели на няколко езика и др.

Най-добрата ж.п. гара е лондонската Сейнт Панкрас, която обслужва високоскоростните влакове Eurostar, свързващи Великобритания с ред европейски столици.

На второ място е централната гара на Цюрих, а на трето – гарата в Лайпциг.

В топ 10 са още две гари в Италия – тези в Рим и Милано, съответно на четвърто и осмо място.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

For each day of cigarette ban, South Africa loses 1.5 community clinics

It is unfortunate that President Cyril Ramaphosa did not use his 17 June announcement of modifications to South Africa’s level 3 lockdown as an opportunity to end the ill-considered ban on tobacco and related products.

Appropriately, on the same day, Africa Check confirmed that the government is losing around R35 million per day in excise taxes for tobacco products. South Africa is now one of the 20 most-affected countries by COVID-19 and case numbers keep rising. The tobacco sales ban will burden the health system with even more problems. Hence it’s time to stop this well-intended but harmful policy.

Ramaphosa claimed his silence on tobacco trading was because the matter is before court. But this was disingenuous. Over the last months, the government at multiple junctures changed lockdown regulations that were in the process of being challenged in court, likely in an attempt to save face. With the Gauteng High Court having dismissed the Fair Trade Independent Tobacco Association’s application to have the ban set aside, little stands in the way of government taking the initiative and doing away with this detrimental regulation that neither serves government’s nor consumers’ interests.

If it does not do so, it would defy belief that finance minister Tito Mboweni warned of the dangers of a cash-strapped government during the COVID-19 emergency budget while government persists with this fiscally irresponsible policy.

The amount of money lost in tobacco excise taxes government collects daily due to the ban is at least R35 million. This is not a mere number. Quantifying the opportunity costs to the South African economy that will occur once government grants South African Airways a contemplated R10.3 billion bailout, economist Jacques Jonker made some interesting calculations. A RDP house in South Africa is valued at around R158,000. An environmentally-friendly community clinic costs about R24.5 million. On those numbers alone, it seems that the state is losing what amounts to 30 RDP houses or 1.5 green clinics every day the cigarette ban continues.

Smoking legal tobacco products is not good for people’s health, but the sales ban did not stop people from smoking. Consumption has instead shifted to cigarettes purchased on the black market.

In the best case, this means just lost excise tax revenues for the government. Unfortunately, many cigarettes sold illegally do not come from legal manufacturers but from bad actors selling counterfeit sticks. Indeed, the counterfeit trade in South Africa has grown considerably since the lockdown began, according to Yusuf Abramjee. These products did not undergo any safety or quality tests and are much more harmful than legal products, potentially containing pesticides, arsenic, and rat poison.

On top of that, illegal street vendors do not comply with any health and safety or social distancing requirements. By banning the legal sales of cigarettes the government does, therefore, cause more harm than doing good.

But health is not and cannot be the only measure of an individual’s interests.

It is true that South Africa’s healthcare system is not up to standard, but that is no reason to keep cigarette sales banned. It is opportunistic and heavy-handed to use the government’s own historical shortcomings in building an efficient healthcare sector to justify curbing South Africans’ constitutional freedoms. It is also offensive to the Rule of Law, which requires reasonableness and impartiality in governance, not self-serving politicking.

It is also worth noting particularly with reference to COVID-19, however, that the danger to people with nicotine in their bodies – smokers – is less than the danger to others. The research in this regard ought not be ignored, as doing so has already caused government to enact policy that might see more people hospitalised for smoking counterfeit cigarettes. Keeping up the ban will cause an additional burden to South Africa’s hospitals, which is especially concerning given the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in the country.

The continued ban on tobacco and related products is evidently irrational and counterproductive. It does not serve government, which as Mboweni’s emergency budget confirmed, is losing billions in revenue. It does not serve ordinary South Africans, who have certainly not stopped smoking but have turned to potentially dangerous, but available, cigarettes. And it does not serve the fight against COVID-19, as persons with nicotine in their bodies are at least at no greater risk for exposure, and at best have a smaller risk to contract the virus.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Tallinn, Estonia leads the sharing economy index globally

Tallinn leads the way as one of the most sharing-economy friendly cities. Its low level of regulation of ride-hailing and flat-sharing services along with openness to e-scooters, and outstanding innovation in the digital space helped take it to the first place. Estonia is well-known for its booming digital state, Consumer Choice Center reports.

The sharing economy has transformed our lives in a variety of ways. Booking holiday accommodation via flatsharing platforms and grabbing our phone to order a rideshare when we are late to a meeting is a habit many of us share. The innovative nature of the sharing economy has led to its undeniable success. But now, those benefits to consumers are often undermined by excessive regulation and taxation. The current COVID-19 pandemic has shown both how much the sharing economy helped consumers access essential goods and services, while at the same time revealing the very real restrictions and regulations that undermine them.

Consumer Choice Center’s Sharing Economy Index is seeking to rank some of the world’s most dynamic cities and to provide a valuable guide for consumers about the sharing economy services available to them.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Pentingnya Perlindungan Hak Kekayaan Intelektual Untuk Mendorong Inovasi

Inovasi, terutama di bidang teknologi, merupakan hal yang sangat penting yang mendorong perkembangan peradaban manusia. Tanpa adanya inovasi, niscaya kita masih hidup seperti nenek moyang kita ribuan tahun yang lalu.

Berkat adanya inovasi, umat manusia bisa mengatasi berbagai permasalahan yang tidak mampu diselesaikan oleh leluhur kita. Melalui teknologi transportasi seperti kereta api dan pesawat terbang, batas-batas geografis tidak lagi menjadi halangan bagi manusia untuk bepergian dengan cepat.

Perkembangan teknologi di bidang medis telah memungkinkan kita memenangkan perang terhadap berbagai penyakit yang selama ribuan tahun menghantui kehidupan manusia, seperti campak, cacar, malaria dan polio. Selain itu, melalui perkembangan teknologi informasi, seperti telepon dan internet, untuk pertama kalinya dalam sejarah manusia, kita bisa berkomunikasi secara langsung dengan mereka yang tinggal ribuan kilometer dari rumah tempat kita tinggal.

Abad ke-21 ini bisa kita katakan sebagai abad inovasi teknologi, di mana kemajuan teknologi di berbagai bidang, terutama bidang medis dan teknologi informasi berkembang dengan pesat. Teknologi seperti smartphone dan transportasi online misalnya, merupakan hal yang bagi sebagian besar orang pada dekade 1990-an hingga awal dekade 2000-an, jauh di luar bayangan mereka.

Namun, inovasi tersebut tidak terjadi di seluruh negara dalam jumlah yang sama. Beberapa negara memiliki tingkat inovasi yang jauh melampaui negara-negara lainnya, dan menjadi pemimpin di bidang kemajuan teknologi.

Raksasa media Bloomberg misalnya, menerbitkan laporan tahunan mengenai Innovation Index untuk mengukur tingkat inovasi di suatu negara. Untuk mengukur tingkat inovasi tersebut, Bloomberg menggunakan tujuh indikator, yakni penemuan yang dipatenkan, jumlah personil riset, pendidikan tinggi, perusahaan teknologi, produktivitas, manufaktur dengan nilai lebih (value added manufactures), serta dana yang digunakan untuk riset dan pengembangan (Bloomberg, 18/01/2020).

Berdasarkan indikator tersebut, Bloomberg lantas memberikan nilai dari 0-100 bagi setiap negara. Pada indeks yang diterbitkan tahun 2020 ini, ada 95 negara yang diteliti. Sebagaimana yang mungkin sudah kita perkirakan, 20 negara dengan tingkat inovasi tertinggi didominasi oleh negara-negara Eropa Barat dan Skandinavia. Jerman sendiri merupakan negara yang menduduki peringkat pertama. (Bloomberg, 18/01/2020).

Melalui indeks tersebut, saya tertarik untuk melihat apakah ada relasi antara tingkat perlindungan Hak Kekayaan Intelektual (HAKI) di suatu negara dengan tingkat inovasi di negara tersebut. Untuk itu, saya mencoba membandingkan antara indeks yang diterbitkan oleh Bloomberg dengan indeks perlindungan HAKI.

Perlindungan HAKI sendiri di Indonesia masih merupakan persoalan yang sangat serius. Bila kita pergi ke berbagai pusat perbelanjaan di Jakarta atau kota-kota lainnya misalnya, dengan mudah kita bisa menemukan berbagai macam produk bajakan, baik musik, film, hingga barang-barang fashion.

Barang-barang tersebut dijual dengan bebas dan tidak ada aparat penegak hukum yang menindaknya. Padahal, Indonesia sendiri sudah memiliki jaminan hukum perlindungan Hak Kekayaan Intelektual. Dalam Pasal 1 Undang-Undang No. 28 tentang Hak Cipta misalnya, dinyatakan bahwa “Hak Cipta adalah hak eksklusif pencipta yang timbul secara otomatis berdasarkan prinsip deklaratif setelah suatu ciptaan diwujudkan dalam bentuk nyata tanpa mengurangi pembatasan sesuai dengan ketentuan peraturan perundang-undangan” (Hukum Online, 2015).

Sehubungan dengan topik HAKI dalam tulisan ini, saya ingin merujuk pada International Intellectual Property Rights Index yang diterbitkan oleh Kamar Dagang Amerika Serikat (US Chamber of Commerce) pada tahun 2020. International Intellectual Property Rights Index sendiri merupakan indeks tahunan yang diterbitkan oleh Kamar Dagang Amerika Serikat untuk mengukur tingkat perlindungan HAKI di suatu negara.

Ada 9 indikator yang digunakan oleh US Chamber of Commerce dalam membuat indeks tersebut. Indikator tersebut adalah, perlindungan terhadap hak paten, hak cipta, merek dagang (trademarks), rahasia dagang (trade secrets), hak bagi pemilik HAKI untuk mengkomersialisasikan penemuannya, penegakan dari aparat penegak hukum, efisiensi dari institusi negara, serta ratifikasi dari negara tersebut terhadap Kovenan Perlindungan HAKI internasional (US Chamber of Commerce, 2020).

Hasilnya tidak mengejutkan. Dari 20 negara yang menduduki peringkat teratas dari indeks inovasi Bloomberg, 14 diantaranya juga menduduki 20 peringkat tertinggi dari indeks perlindungan HAKI yang dikeluarkan oleh Kamar Dagang Amerika Serikat. 14 negara tersebut diantaranya adalah Amerika Serikat, Britania Raya, Prancis, Jerman, Swedia, Jepang, Belanda, Irlandia, Swiss, Singapura, Italia, Korea Selatan, Australia, dan Israel (US Chamber of Commerce, 2020).

Hubungan antara perlindungan HAKI dan inovasi tentu bukan suatu hal baru yang saya temukan. Hubungan positif antara perlindungan HAKI dan inovasi merupakan hal yang sudah diketahui oleh banyak akademisi bertahun-tahun yang lalu.

Senior Fellow dari lembaga Center for Strategic and International Studies di Washington D.C., James A. Lewis misalnya, dalam jurnalnya yang berjudul “Intellectual Property Protection: Promoting Innovation in a Global Information Economy”, menulis bahwa perlindungan HAKI sangat krusial untuk mendorong inovasi. Lewis menulis bahwa, perlindungan terhadap HAKI merupakan hal yang sangat penting, terlebih lagi di dalam konteks ekonomi global yang bertumpu pada informasi, di mana penciptaan ide-ide baru merupakan aktivitas ekonomi yang paling bernilai tinggi (Lewis, 2008).

Lewis menulis bahwa, kegiatan inovasi merupakan sesuatu yang memiliki resiko tinggi. Setiap inovator, mendapatkan manfaat dari inovasi yang dibuatnya melalui penjualan produk inovasinya di masa depan. Tanpa adanya perlindungan terhadap HAKI, maka orang lain dapat dengan mudah mencuri hasil karya dari inovator tersebut, dan mendapatkan keuntungan dari ide orang lain tanpa menanggung resiko yang harus dihadapi oleh inovator karya tersebut (Lewis, 2008).

Tanpa adanya perlindungan bagi setiap orang atas ide dan hasil karyanya, maka hal tersebut akan semakin mengecilkan insentif bagi seseorang untuk berpikir kreatif dan berinovasi. Untuk apa seseorang besusah-susah mencari ide-ide baru, bila ada pihak lain yang bisa mendapat mendapat keuntungan dari mencuri hasil pemikiran orang yang memiliki ide orisinal tersebut?

Melalui perlindungan HAKI, setiap individu akan mendapatkan perlindungan untuk mendapatkan manfaat dari hasil karya dan kreatifitasnya. Dengan demikian, inovasi akan semakin meningkat karena setiap orang akan memiliki insentif yang lebih besar untuk membuahkan hasil karya baru yang akan sangat bermanfaat bagi umat manusia.

Originally published here.

Piden a AMLO reconsiderar la prohibición de cigarrillos electrónicos

CIUDAD DE MÉXICO (apro).—El Centro para la Elección de los Consumidores (CCC, por su siglas en inglés) hizo un llamado al gobierno de Andrés Manuel López Obrador a reconsiderar la prohibición de la importación y exportación de vaporizadores, a través de un decreto emitido el pasado 19 de febrero.

De acuerdo con la organización dicha medida va en contra de la necesidad de regular el mercado de dichos productos y, por el contrario, fomenta la distribución y venta de artículos ilegales, a través de cárteles y el crimen organizado.

El CCC, promotor de mercados reguladores en sector como alimentos, transportación y salud, alertó que las consecuencias de la disposición presidencial no terminan en el fomento de un mercado ilícito de sustancias y dispositivos de dudosa calidad, sino en el impacto que tendrán en los consumidores mexicanos.

“Ante la imposibilidad de comprar artículos legales y regulados, podrían caer en las garras de contrabandistas y adquirir productos que podrían provocarles enfermedades pulmonares e incluso la muerte, tal como sucedió en Estados Unidos en la segunda mitad del año pasado”, señaló en un comunicado.

Al respecto, la CCC recordó que la propia autoridad sanitaria de Estados Unidos afirmó categóricamente que la intoxicación y muertes de varios usuarios de cigarros electrónicos obedeció a la vaporización de líquidos ilícitos de THC provenientes del mercado negro.

Es decir, no respondió a la actividad propia del vapeo, sino al uso de sustancias prohibidas, lo cual podría ocurrir en México ante la negativa del gobierno por regular los vaporizadores, con todo y que se ha demostrado científicamente que son una auténtica opción para dejar el consumo de cigarros tradicionales.

Sobre este punto, la organización internacional destacó que el principal organismo de salud del Reino Unido, Public Health England, ha afirmado repetidas veces que el vapeo y el consumo de los cigarrillos electrónicos son un 95% menos perjudiciales que fumar, por lo cual los vaporizadores son parte de una política pública para combatir el tabaquismo en esa región.

La organización exhortó al gobierno mexicano a “impulsar la legalidad, escuchar las diferentes posturas y promover mercados regulados, con el objetivo de que los consumidores tengan acceso a productos de calidad y que no atenten en contra de su integridad”.

Además insistió en que el decreto presidencial mencionado causará exactamente lo que está tratando de prevenir: Más enfermedades pulmonares y constituirse en un programa de estímulo para los cárteles y el crimen organizado.

Originally published here.

El gobierno mexicano estimula a los cárteles y al crimen organizado al frenar regulación de mercados

Ciudad de México.- A través de disposiciones que obstaculizan la regulación de mercados, el gobierno de México fomenta la ilegalidad y estimula al crimen organizado, alertó el Centro para la Elección de los Consumidores (Consumer Choise Center).

Mediante un comunicado la organización, fundada en febrero de 2017 y cuyo objetivo es proteger los intereses de los consumidores en más de 100 países, lamentó que el gobierno del presidente Andrés Manuel López Obrador aplique medidas que atentan contra la libertad de elección de los consumidores e incluso contra la salud pública de México.
En ese sentido, la CCC, con oficiales centrales en Estados Unidos, Canadá y la Unión Europa, dijo que, por ejemplo, el decreto presidencial que se emitió el pasado 19 de febrero para prohibir la importación y exportación de vaporizadores va en contra de la necesidad de regular el mercado de dichos productos y, por el contrario, fomenta la distribución y venta de artículos ilegales, a través de cárteles y el crimen organizado.

La organización, promotora de mercados reguladores en sector como alimentos, transportación y salud, alertó que las consecuencias de la disposición presidencial no terminan en el fomento de un mercado ilícito de sustancias y dispositivos de dudosa calidad, sino en el impacto que tendrán en los consumidores mexicanos, quienes, ante la imposibilidad de comprar artículos legales y regulados, podrían caer en las garras de contrabandistas y adquirir productos que podrían provocarles enfermedades pulmonares e incluso la muerte, tal como sucedió en Estados Unidos en la segunda mitad del año pasado.

Al respecto, la CCC recordó que la propia autoridad sanitaria de Estados Unidos afirmó categóricamente que la intoxicación y muertes de varios usuarios de cigarros electrónicos obedeció a la vaporización de líquidos ilícitos de THC provenientes del mercado negro, es decir, no respondió a la actividad propia del vapeo, sino al uso de sustancias prohibidas, lo cual podría ocurrir en México ante la negativa del gobierno por regular los vaporizadores, con todo y que se ha demostrado científicamente que son una auténtica opción para dejar el consumo de cigarros tradicionales.
Sobre este punto, la organización internacional destacó que el principal organismo de salud del Reino Unido, Public Health England, ha afirmado repetidas veces que el vapeo y el consumo de los cigarrillos electrónicos son un 95% menos perjudiciales que fumar, por lo cual los vaporizadores son parte de una política pública para combatir el tabaquismo en esa región.
De igual manera, la CCC afirmó que a la misma conclusión ha llegado el Ministro de Salud de Nueva Zelanda y el organismo Health Canada, quienes han lanzado iniciativas públicas animando a los fumadores a pasarse al vapeo.

Sin embargo, la organización lamentó que, soslayando dichos argumentos, el gobierno mexicano determinó prohibir la importación y exportación de cigarros electrónicos, lo que implicará una serie de secuelas tanto sociales como económicas:

Contradictorio a la necesidad de fomentar mercados regulados y legales.
Restricción de elección para los consumidores mexicanos.
Riesgo de volver a fumar para quienes están en proceso de dejar el cigarro al utilizar vaporizadores.
Estímulo para los cárteles y el crimen organizado.

Debilita la salud pública de México.

Ante ello, la organización exhortó al gobierno mexicano en impulsar la legalidad, escuchar las diferentes posturas y promover mercados regulados, con el objetivo de que los consumidores tengan acceso a productos de calidad y que no atenten en contra de su integridad, pues afirmó que el decreto presidencial mencionado causará exactamente lo que está tratando de prevenir: Más enfermedades pulmonares y constituirse en un programa de estímulo para los cárteles y el crimen organizado.

El Consumer Choice Center (CCC), organización que defiende los intereses de los consumidores en más de 100 países, apoya la libertad de estilo de vida, la innovación, la privacidad, la ciencia y la elección del consumidor. Monitorea de cerca las tendencias regulatorias en ciudades como Ottawa, Washington, Bruselas, Ginebra y otros puntos críticos de regulación e informa y activa a los consumidores para luchar por #ConsumerChoice.

Originally published here.

Newsletter of June 2020

Dear Friend,

Summer is here and while our social and travel patterns are still very limited due to the ongoing pandemic, we were able to have one of our most productive months ever at the CCC! A new cool index is out, we had TV appearances on three continents, co-authored letters with elected officials, and contemplated the existence of mold in our walnuts.  

David went on NewzroomAfrika to discuss South Africa’s ban on alcohol and smoking during lockdowns. I flanked this debate with an op-ed on News24. We say #stopprohibition

Americans can sue companies for selling hot coffee but not police officers who violate their rights? Yaël on qualified immunity and legal reform in the Miami Herald. #time4legalreform

Scooters, Taxis, and Baltic Beds: Tallinn stands for tech and consumer-friendliness – The first-ever CCC sharing economy index looked at over 50 cities around the world and found out that Tallinn, Vilnius, and Riga are the top cities for smart sharing economy regulations. Good for consumers in the Baltics and props to our index authors Maria and Tamar who got widely featured by the media.

Policy victory in Ukraine: In May, the Ukrainian government announced it was considering introducing tariffs on imported fertilizers from the EU. We have written extensively in Ukrainian media criticizing such a move arguing why trade protectionism is damaging and costly. On June 24th, the Ukrainian government decided against the quotas in favor of free trade. We are very proud that we have played a role in bringing about this consumer-friendly outcome.

Don’t stop the vaccine now! We co-signed a letter with 9 Members of the European Parliament reminding the EU’s Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan that compulsory licenses for COVID-19 vaccines are not going to get us to a vaccine faster.

Our webinar debate on Intellectual Property Rights between Professor Michele Boldrin and I got over 1,200 views. I also wrote in WirtschaftsWoche on why patents on COVID cures and vaccines are good.

Mold in your food? Yes, that’s a growing global problem called ‘Mycotoxins’! One of these poisonous substances even has the very telling name vomitoxin (ugh…). Why you should care about this issue, and what it has to do with the current food and agricultural policy of the EU, can be read in this paper in English and German authored by Bill.

The CCC participated in World Vape Day and filled two hours of the day-long VapeTV. We also launched an interactive map showing how many smokers could switch to vaping if their country would copy the smart vaping policies of the United Kingdom. David also testified (virtually) in front of British Columbia’s Finance Committee suggesting they repeal their 20% vape tax.

Pusat Pilihan Pengguna means Consumer Choice Center in Malay – CCC Malaysia launched!

We keep fighting for #ConsumerChoice across the globe. Next stop: Fighting the idea that increasing excise and consumption taxes are a good way out of this recession (spoiler: they are NOT!).

Let us know if you have any other ideas on what we should focus on this Summer,

Fred

P.S.: Some media hits we really can’t leave unmentioned:

David on the legalization of blood plasma on TV in Alberta.

Luca and Maria make the case why brands matter now more than ever in Euractiv.

Maria on fertilizer protectionism in Ukraine and why ‘Buy local fertilizer’ policies are bad for consumers.

David in the Financial Post on zoning laws in Canada which got syndicated by over 50 media outlets.

Modern Agriculture is under threat – Bill in Euractiv fighting for innovative food policies.

David on TRT World discussing the WHO’s relationship with China in the light of COVID.

Our interview on Consumer Choice Radio (Episode 24!) with Danish journalist and author Flemming Rose.

David in the Western Standard on Hong Kong and the Communist Party of China 

David and Martin in Daily Maverick on South Africa’s new prohibition.

David on FDA reform and why forcing drug companies to kill puppies is not cool in the Washington Examiner!

CCC participates in the Fintech consultation of the EU Commission.

Mexican media on our vaping research

P.P.S.: Don’t miss our webinar on the future of food in Europe with MEP Norbert Lins, Chair of the EP’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (EPP, Germany), MEP Mazaly Aguilar, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (ECR, Spain), and Marcel Kuntz, Research Director in the Laboratory of Plant and Cell Physiology at the National Centre for Scientific Research in France. Sign up HERE

Policy Victory Ukraine: Cancelled Tariffs on Imported Fertilisers

The Issue

In May, the Ukrainian government announced it was considering introducing tariffs on imported fertilisers from the EU. Though presented as a means to protect domestic industries, import quotas are not only highly protectionist but, more importantly, they are a sure sign there are some powerful domestic lobby interests at play. In the case of Ukraine and fertilisers, it’s the infamous oligarchs Firtash and Kolomoisky who initiated the review of Ukrainian trade policy. Both own large nitrogen enterprises and have a record of pursuing a monopolistic position on the Ukrainian market.

Small and medium farmers and Ukrainian consumers had the most to lose from the quotas.

The CCC Response

We have responded to the issue by writing extensively in Ukrainian media to criticise such a move. Trade protectionism is damaging and costly and threatens consumer choice. Our European Affairs Associate Maria Chaplia appeared in multiple Ukrainian outlets. 

The Outcome

On June 24th, the Ukrainian government decided against the quotas in favor of free trade. Trade with the EU is especially beneficial to Ukraine as it allows cheaper food production at home in Ukraine and hence lower food prices for Ukrainians. We are very proud that we have played a role in bringing about this consumer-friendly outcome.

Licensing laws in the public health sector

On June 17th 2020, the Innovation, Brands and Intellectual Property Intergroup sent an open letter Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan about the COVID-19 crisis and the risk of Licensing Laws to the production and supply of essential goods to the population.

Under licensing laws, a government has the power to revoke patent rights from innovators or companies if a discovery they made would provide vital treatment or protection related to a national health emergency. Under these laws, another organization can also reproduce and distribute the product without prior consent from the patent-holder. If the patent owner does not comply, they may face heavy fines from the government.

“If European and third-countries’ companies are prevented from retaining their patent licenses, this could hinder furtherly the production and supply of essential goods to the population.”

“A compulsory licensing bill could place even more barriers for pharmaceutical groups trying to make a profit, which could further discourage these kinds of companies from registering in any EU Member State.”

Compulsory licensing is threatening to move the goalposts on how intellectual property rights are protected; it should only be used in a state of national emergency. However, the interpretation of the notion of “health emergency” can be fuzzy.

“There are other grey areas still to be addressed over compulsory licensing as well as there are many ways to make easier access to vaccines: for example, a mutual recognition of FDA and EMA and fast-tracking procedures for some type of medicines. During tough times, decision-makers are requested to restore certainty to the greatest extent possible. Moreover, this crisis compels us to be one step ahead and anticipate issues.”

The letter was signed by:

Gianna GANCIA MEP
Fulvio MARTUSCIELLO MEP
Lucia VUOLO MEP
Massimiliano SALINI MEP
Patrizia POIA MEP
Ivan STEFANEC MEP
Anna- Michelle ASSIMAKOPOULOU MEP
Lukas MANDL MEP
Radan KANEV MEP
Fred ROEDER, Managing Director Consumer Choice Center

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Abordarea agriculturii de catre UE – un „Muzeu al Agriculturii”

Abordarea agriculturii de catre UE - un „Muzeu al Agriculturii”; Europa ar trebui să conducă calea inovării agricole; stiri agricole

Abordarea agriculturii de catre UE – un „Muzeu al Agriculturii”

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Abordarea agriculturii de catre UE - un „Muzeu al Agriculturii”; Europa ar trebui să conducă calea inovării agricole; stiri agricole

În ultimele două decenii, Europa a decis să meargă de una singura în politicile agricole. În timp ce atât America de Nord, cât și America de Sud și, de asemenea, Japonia s-au mutat într-o agricultură modernă și mai mult bazată pe tehnologie, Europa a mers înapoi și continuă să interzică progresele și metodele noi din agricultură. În discuțiile comerciale recente, diplomații americani de top au râs în mod repetat de cadrul de reglementare al UE, considerându-l invechit.

„Trebuie să eliminăm constrângerile pentru adoptarea de noi abordări și tehnologii inovatoare, inclusiv restricții de reglementare excesiv de greoaie și inutile.”

Acestea au fost cuvintele secretarului agriculturii din SUA, Sonny Perdue, într-o declaratie publicată de Euractiv în februarie. Într-o manieră ceva mai puțin diplomatică, ambasadorul SUA în Regatul Unit, Woody Wilson, a caracterizat abordarea agriculturii de catre UE ca fiind un „Muzeu al Agriculturii”.

Atât Perdue, cât și Wilson susțin că restricțiile Uniunii Europene asupra tehnologiei agricole moderne nu sunt durabile și limitează sever acordurile comerciale viitoare.

A judeca dacă acestea sunt corecte sau nu, nu este legat de cât de mult iubești sau urăști Statele Unite, ci cât de mult îți place sau urăști stabilitatea prețurilor la produsele alimentare. Noi, europenii, putem fi judecătorii acestui lucru.

Să evaluăm situația așa cum este. Atât agricultura convențională, cât și cea ecologică se ocupă de dăunătorii de care trebuie să scape pentru a nu pune în pericol securitatea alimentară și stabilitatea prețurilor pentru consumatori. Ambele necesită substanțe chimice ca parte a instrumentelor de protecție a culturilor.

Așa cum se intampla in Africa, invazia de lăcuste pot fi devastatoare pentru securitatea alimentară, iar știința climatică ne permite să detectăm că anumiti dăunători vor veni din locuri îndepărtate spre zonele noastre mai devreme, ceea ce face ca insecticidele să fie necesare. Pentru a evita ciupercile și micotoxinele mortale, folosim fungicide.

Din punct de vedere politic, aceste instrumente de protecție a culturilor chimice nu sunt populare, deoarece grupuri din ce în ce mai mari si mai radicali de ecologiști îi împing pe politicieni să le interzică.

Ceea ce pare să conteze este că instrumentele moderne de protecție a culturilor sunt etichetate ca fiind nesustenabile. Cu toate acestea, sustenabilitatea este insuficient definită și, astfel, a servit drept scuză pentru a îmbogăți concepțiile greșite existente despre agricultură.

Sustenabilitatea ar trebui să se bazeze pe o agricultură modernă și inovatoare

Sustenabilitatea ar trebui să se bazeze pe o agricultură modernă și inovatoare care să răspundă nevoilor mediului, siguranței alimentare, securității alimentare și prețurilor competitive pentru consumatori. Aceste instrumente sunt disponibile astăzi.

Prin inginerie genetică, oamenii de știință au găsit o modalitate de a reduce utilizarea produselor tradiționale de protecție a culturilor, crescând totodată randamentul culturilor. Însă încă o dată, o suspiciune politică față de inovația agro-tehnologică reprezintă o frână, în acest caz prin Directiva OMG din 2001, care practic interzice toată ingineria genetică în scopul culturilor.

Schimbările climatice modifică modul în care producem alimente indiferent dacă le dorim sau nu. Bolile rare sunt tot mai prezente.

Modificările genetice specifice ne permit să depășim mutațiile aleatorii ale trecutului și să dezvoltăm schimbări precise în domeniul alimentelor.

Statele Unite, împreună cu Israel, Japonia, Argentina și Brazilia, conduc lumea cu reguli permisive pentru editarea genelor. Această nouă tehnologie poate îmbunătăți speranța de viață, securitatea alimentelor și prețurile produselor alimentare pentru toți consumatorii. Prin comparație, regulile UE au 20 de ani și nu sunt bazate pe știința actuală.

Vor americanii să concureze cu fermierii europeni și să vândă cantități din ce în ce mai mari de mâncare pe acest continent?

Acest lucru nu este doar în mod evident, dar este, de asemenea, reciproc. Dacă am investi cât mai mult timp în demonizarea produselor americane si în promovarea produselor europene peste hotare, atunci fermierii noștri s-ar extinde masiv pe piața americană cu produse superioare. În acest scenariu, consumatorii își păstrează opțiunile de hrană, iar comercianților cu amănuntul și producătorilor trebuie să li se solicite etichetarea originii alimentelor.

Cel mai mult, modificarea regulilor noastre privind noile tehnologii editarea genelor ar trebui să se facă în interesul consumatorilor europeni mai mult decât în ​​cazul exportatorilor americani.

Europa ar trebui să conducă calea inovării agricole și să dea lecții pentru inovare, nu să primeasca lectii din Statele Unite. În interesul consumatorilor europeni, ar trebui să permitem inovația, iar apoi să fim un lider global în aceasta.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

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